With the Aston Villa manager claiming his club need six wins to avoid the drop this season, we look at the games that could provide the victories needed.
Defeated and deflated after a 1-0 loss to Newcastle at the weekend, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood nevertheless believes his new team can stay up and has a rather specific target in mind.
"We need six wins," he explained in quotes published by the Guardian.
"We have 11 games left and, as players, they need to start taking responsibility. Now is the time for points. We need a siege mentality."
Despite Villa’s league position, however, we are quietly optimistic of their chances for the season and have uncovered six games that could yield the 18 points required to hit the magical 40 mark.
Here are the games and stats that make the Midlands giants ones to back for Premier League survival this season.
West Bromwich Albion (H) – Tuesday March 3rd
The Baggies have tasted victory in just one of their last nine visits to Villa Park, losing their most recent trip 4-3 in a game that saw the Claret and Blues come back from 2-0 down.
With Victor Anichebe, Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye all likely to be absent through injury, the Villans could capitalise and, more importantly, have scored in five of their last six at home.
Sunderland (A) – Saturday March 14th
If anyone can understand the miserable season Aston Villa are currently enduring it’s the Black Cats, with Sunderland facing similarly desperate times in the Premier League this term.
A trip to the Stadium of Light is therefore slightly less of a daunting prospect, given the Mackems have won just two of their last 15 at home in the Premier League, while Villa also won 1-0 on their last visit to the ground.
Queens Park Rangers (H) – Monday April 20th
QPR may have improved under Chris Ramsey but they remain the club with the worst away record in the Premier League having taken just three points away from Loftus Road in the top-flight this term.
Villa won 3-2 the last time the two teams met in Birmingham and with the game due to be televised, we could be in for a similar game to the one that saw the Villans vanquish fellow strugglers Sunderland 6-1 back in April 2013 with many of the same team still present.
Everton (H) – Saturday May 2nd
Villa may not have the best record against the Toffees in recent times but a loss of form coupled with European commitments has seen Everton endure some rotten results this season. Champions League qualification hopes are a fast fading memory for the Merseysiders.
Home advantage could be crucial though with Everton losing seven of their last eight away from Goodison Park in the Premier League. More importantly, with the Blues facing a potential Europa League semi-final first-leg in the following week, it could be advantage Villa yet again.
West Ham United (H) – Saturday May 9th
With the Hammers’ season imploding in spectacular style over the past couple of weeks, it remains to be seen whether Sam Allardyce will even be in charge of the Irons by the time they visit Villa Park.
Aston Villa have lost just one of their last seven at home against West Ham while the London club have gone four games without a win on the road going into this week’s fixtures. With European qualification likely to be out of their reach, the Irons may also have little to play for.
Burnley (H) – Saturday May 24th
Though a final day showdown with Burnley may represent a daunting task in the event the Lancashire club are still fighting for survival, the chances of Sean Dyche’s team remaining in the mix for survival at this stage look slim to none.
Burnley have won just one game away from Turf Moor in the Premier League this term and were fortunate to take a point off Villa earlier this term. With fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton, Tottenham and Arsenal to come, they may be already relegated by the time these two meet.